8 Google Analytics Tips To Measure Your Online ROI
LAST UPDATED: TOPIC: Analytics and CRO
1. Link AdWords to Analytics
The more information Google Analytics can provide you with, the better you can track your return on investment. By linking it with your Google Adwords account, Google Analytics can help you track the performance of your ads and traffic that comes from them to your website.
This will open up a whole new way of tracking people found in Acquisition > Adwords, which will track how different ads are performing, and help you follow them through the conversion funnel. It’s a simple process, and quick, so there’s really no reason not to do it.
2. Link Webmaster Tools to Analytics
Just like Adwords, linking your Webmaster Tools account with Analytics will give you more data, more insights and help you track users from before they even land on your website through to when they exit the conversion funnel.
Just as Adwords tracks your traffic from advertising campaigns, Webmaster Tools allows you to track traffic from Google’s search engine results page (SERP) so you can see where organic users are coming from, where they’re landing on your site, and which search terms got them there. This information can all be found in Acquisition > Search Console.
3. Set up Goals
Google Analytics provides you with an incredible amount of data, but without your input or interpretation, that’s all it is: raw data. Google Analytics can’t tell you what your performance is, because it doesn’t know what you’re trying to do. That’s where goals come in.
Goals are a way of measuring your successes. For sites with no Ecommerce components, goals are probably equivalent to your conversions, whether that means getting someone to sign up for a newsletter or make an enquiry. You might even create a separate goal for each one of these, and a few more as well.
Setting up goals will let you track how many people are using your site to do what you need them to do, so that you have a way of measuring success and a way of tracking people’s customer journey. Without goals, all you have is a blank measure of what people are doing without any feedback on what that means.
4. Set up Events
Events are a way of tracking how users interact with content on your site, particularly embedded videos, flash elements, ad clicks and downloads. Knowing how people interact with elements of your site that are otherwise hidden is incredibly useful in tracking ROI.
Like goals, setting up events lets you know when people are doing something you want them to, to measure your success. Events can even be set up as goals of their own, so that you have a ‘conversion rate’ of how many people are watching your video or downloading your free e-book.
Events can also be part of the conversion funnel, another vital way of tracking your ROI. Being able to see what happens to visitors before and after an event is useful for improving performance later, and for seeing if your process is working.
5. Determine Goal Value
Measuring goals and how many people are reaching them is vital to tracking your site’s performance and return on investment. You can go the extra mile, though, by determining how much a goal is actually worth to your business.
Sometimes this is straightforward, and sometimes it’s subjective, but in any case you should have a consistent method for assigning value to your goals so that you can determine whether you’re meeting expectations and getting value from your investments.
A quick way of determining goal profit is to figure out how much money a final conversion is worth to you on average, and what percentage of people who meet your goal later go on to convert. For example, if your goal is to have visitors fill out an enquiry form, first figure out what percentage of those enquiries will go on to convert – maybe 20%? And how much is that conversion worth once they’ve converted – maybe £1000? If a conversion is worth £1000, and 20% of enquiries convert, then an enquiry is worth an average of £200 – now you have a value for your goal.
Not all cases are as clear cut as this of course, but that is one of the disadvantages of goals. Find a value that you’re relatively happy with, and if it doesn’t match figures later down the line, adjust it until it does. It may take some trial and error, but once you can put a number to a goal, you’ve got a good, consistent way of measuring ROI.
6. Use UTM Tagging
UTM tagging allows you to create custom campaigns leading from both PPC advertising and social media. You can adapt urls based on where you’re posting them so that you know exactly where traffic is coming from. Once a visitor is on your site and associated with a specific campaign, you can see how well that campaign has been performing.
Adding UTM tags is is simple with a URL builder, and helps you separate traffic from different sites, or from the same site for different campaigns, even the same site and campaign at different times. The more knowledge you have of where traffic is coming from, the more you can attribute success to different strategies and see which ones are worth investing more in, which ones need to be improved and which may just be a waste of your time and money.
7. Create a Conversion Funnel
Conversion funnels are one of the ultimate uses for Google Analytics, and great for tracking ROI across all your digital marketing efforts. From landing page to conversion, a conversion funnel helps you keep track of where people are coming from, what they’re doing on your site and where they’re falling off if they don’t reach conversion.
Alongside all of Google Analytics’ other tools, this provides a wealth of knowledge for what your website is doing, which investments are providing the most benefit, and which areas of your customer journey need improving the most. With that information, you know where to focus your efforts, and if previous investments are paying off well enough to justify continuing to support them.
8. Track Changes Over Time
As with all things in business, it’s important not to get too focused on the little things at the expense of the big picture. This is especially true in digital marketing where some efforts simply take a long time to pay off.
If you don’t see immediate results from an investment, consider whether you should have. Many common practices such as SEO and social media take a long time to pay off, and you won’t always see that benefit immediately. Others, like sales and newsletters, start paying off straight away but don’t sustain themselves without repeat investment. Still others are seasonal, and will rise and fall on a cyclical basis.
Use Google Analytics as a guide, but always be prepared to be patient before using it to make a final decision on ROI. It can provide a lot of information, but it can’t see the bigger picture like you can.